*Statistics derived from video scouting and may be inaccurate.
Having defeated Colin Fletcher to win the lightweight finale of The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes, Norman Parke’s next challenge will be Japanese fighter Kazuki Tokudome. While Tokudome looked more impressive against Cristiano Marcello than Parke looked against Fletcher, a broader look at the skill sets of these fighters points to a likely Parke victory.
The first number that stands out regarding Parke is that he’s 13-0 in takedowns in the fights of his I saw on tape. Some of those successes were against a bantamweight in Richie Vaculik, but he also landed frequent takedowns against lightweights in Brendan Loughnane and Colin Fletcher.
It will be interesting to see who wins the takedown battle in this fight, because Tokudome is also a fighter who largely relies on takedowns and top control to win fights. Tokudome doesn’t have a lot of effective offense from top control, but he does make it difficult for his opponent to do much of anything either.
Outside of the wrestling domain, I feel this is Parke’s fight to lose. I picked against Tokudome when he made his UFC debut against Marcello, and it wasn’t because I think very highly of Marcello. Tokudome has very little head movement, making his noggin an easy target for opposing strikers. Parke is a lot better on the ground than he is standing up, but his striking should be good enough to land haymakers on Tokudome.
For Tokudome, the outlook is a little bleak. I think he needs to land takedowns to win this fight, but it’s unclear if he’ll be able to do so. Parke’s takedown defense wasn’t tested much on The Smashes. Even if he is able to land takedowns, I expect Parke to work his way back to his feet, where he should be a threat to hurt Tokudome with strikes.
Now, I may be unfairly biased against Tokudome, because the only fights of his I could find on tape (besides his UFC debut) were both first-round TKO losses. There are a lot of Tokudome wins I didn’t get to see. With that said, I can only go by what I’ve seen, not what I haven’t. What I’ve seen is that Parke is a fairly well-rounded fighter with a very good takedown game, while takedowns are all Tokudome really has in his arsenal. I have to take Parke to win this match.
Pick: Norman Parke by decision